Clarke relaxed over contract talks

22 November 2013 07:31

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has stressed he is happy to wait until the new year before entering into talks about his contract situation.

Clarke was appointed as Albion's head coach - his first managerial role - in the summer of 2012 on a two-year deal and subsequently guided the club to their highest-ever Barclays Premier League finish of eighth last term.

The Baggies, currently 10th in the table, released a statement this week announcing they plan to open contract talks with the 50-year-old Scot in the new year.

And when questioned about that on Friday afternoon at his press conference previewing Monday's home league clash with midlands rivals Aston Villa, Clarke said: "The contract was always running down.

"It's not a big issue for me because, before we get there (to the talks), there is a lot of football to be played, a lot of games still to go.

"We have a big game on Monday night against our local rivals, which we're looking forward to.

"The contract situation for me will take care of itself.

"We have a number of games over December and January. It's a busy, busy time and, when we get time, myself and the club will sit down and discuss the way forward."

Asked specifically if he was happy for the talks to not begin until the new year, Clarke said: "Yes. As far as I know, that is what was always planned.

"I didn't go to the club to ask for the contract - I've never asked for a contract in my life.

"I've been lucky that they have always seemed to come to me.

"That's the way it is. I'm happy with the situation and the club are happy - that should put everybody's mind at rest."

Then asked if he was happy to stay at the club, Clarke added: "Yes, of course."

A West Brom player who looks set to put pen to paper on a new deal with them soon is 20-year-old forward Saido Berahino.

Talks have been ongoing for some time between Albion and Berahino, who is reportedly currently on £850 a week and so far this term has scored six goals for the Baggies in all competitions plus six more for England Under-21s.

"The club have been discussing the deal with Saido's people for a number of weeks now," said Clarke.

"It's getting closer.

"I'd like to sit here and say it's done - but it's not quite done.

"But it's getting close and it will take care of itself.

"Saido's a level-headed boy and he understands the position of the club and what we want to do.

"We want to help him, we want to give him a good contract and we want to make him a better player, which is the most important thing.

"It's not for me to put a timescale on it, but the people who are working on the contract tell me it's close."

Striker Nicolas Anelka could make his return to first-team action in Monday's game.

Anelka, recently sidelined by a groin problem, has missed the last two matches but Clarke has indicated the Frenchman will be available.

Clarke is also not ruling out winger Scott Sinclair (hamstring) being involved for the first time in six games, while Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and Boaz Myhill all look set to feature despite withdrawing from their international squads during the break.

Source: PA

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